Analysis Of Ballad Of Birmingham By Dudley Randall

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Imagery tends to be a literary device that is used in most poetry, and “Ballad of Birmingham” is no exception. Imagery is key to Randall’s delivery to allow the reader to envision the story how he wanted them to. Using the same words that he used to symbolize violence also allows us to visualize the violence. The words guns, hoses, and dogs allows the readers to understand what is happening. It makes the reader think back to a picture he or she has seen whether in a textbook or online. These pictures show us the true hate and resentment that some Americans had toward African Americans. In a later stanza, Randall describes the little girl getting ready for church. He uses phrases such as night-dark hair and small brown hands in order to remind…show more content…
The central theme of the poem is the death of a young girl, so it is clear to see that at some point in the poem the mood will put the reader into a state of sadness or pity for the little girl and her mother. The mood begins with the cover image for the “Ballad of Birmingham” in Dudley Randall’s Broadside Press. “The card format and the somber illustration of six figures huddled together, heads bowed, suggest a funeral” (Sullivan). The cover of the press is a black background with six white silhouettes with their heads bowed. “Drawings will do more than any other one feature” (Bornstein 713). Already the poem has given off a feeling of loss and sadness, but at the beginning of the poem it quickly switches to a happy mood. The daughter is asking to go march the streets in a freedom march, and the reader can sense a feeling of pride from the girl as she wants to march for her freedom like everyone else. The mood seems to stay the same as the mother is trying to protect her daughter from the violence that comes with the marches, and the daughter then gets ready for church. Then all of a sudden the mood switches. “For when she heard the explosion” (Randall 25). At this point, the mood turns from positive to sad and worrisome. “O, here’s the shoe my baby wore, / But, baby, where are you?” (Randall 31-32). With these last two lines of the poem, the reader is able to feel the agony and despair that the mother is in at the
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